North’s girls’ team is coming off a tough season. The Spartans lost all five of their games, including a heartbreaking overtime defeat to Glen Cove in the finale, and had to sit out two weeks of an already abbreviated schedule due to the pandemic.
The roster will be noticeably younger and inexperienced after nine players from last year’s squad graduated, but three girls that are returning occupied the top spots in scoring. Head coach George Karahalios said the team may still struggle this winter, but the long-term outlook is promising.
“We may be one or two years out of [a playoff spot],” he said. “I believe this year will be better than last year, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. I’m looking forward to getting the season started.”
The projected starting lineup will feature two juniors and three sophomores. Swingman Gabriela Mensah averaged 12 points a game last season and fellow junior Kayla Santo was just behind at 11.8 at center after her 20-point outburst against Glen Cove. Sophomore point guard Elena Magno (5.6) also had her best game against Glen Cove with 10 points.
Karahalios said Santo has the potential to be even better this season with more consistency and one more year of maturity should help Mensah improve her court vision and decision making. Mango will continue to be the main distributor to go with her tenacious defense.
Sophomore forwards Alyanna Nadal and Isabella Feldman, both JV callups, should round out the starting five. Karahalios lauded Nadal for her work ethic, athleticism, and basketball IQ, and Feldman’s shooting accuracy would have earned her a spot on the varsity team if the JV roster wasn’t depleted.
Senior Gabriella Rettagliata is back with the team after not playing last season and is expected to provide a defensive spark off the bench.